The National Drug Authority (NDA) has shut down 21 illegal veterinary drug outlets in nine districts located in Western Uganda following a week-long operation to improve compliance with the Authority’s quality standards.
Stephen Ssemakalu, a Regulatory Officer at NDA, revealed that starting from 13th to 22nd October, Authority staff have been conducting compliance visits to veterinary drug outlets, agrochemical shops and some general merchandise shops in the districts of Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Bunyangabu, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Mityana, Kassanda and Mubende.
“During the operation, 69 trading centres were visited in which 149 outlets were inspected. Of these, 21 were found to be illegal and were closed and 25 boxes of assorted veterinary medicines estimated at Shs 53,700,000 were impounded,” Ssemakalu said.
He noted that most of the offending drug outlets were closed for employing unqualified personnel.
“Medicines in the hands of unqualified persons expose the public to wrong prescriptions, drug resistance, loss of income and other health-related risks, including death,” he said. “These operations and post-market surveillance activities are intended to protect the population from substandard, counterfeit, unregistered, expired and unqualified operators.”
Ssemakalu said they found out that several general merchandise and agro-chemical shops, including some in Ruterwa trading centre in Kyegegwa, and Mabira farmers’ choice in Kyenjojo district, were illegally selling veterinary products.
The NDA official appealed to the general public to always seek advice from qualified veterinary practitioners and buy veterinary medicines from licensed drug outlets.
“Avoid buying medicines from hawkers because it is an illegal practice, and NDA cannot guarantee the quality of those medicines.”
The NDA Regional Manager (Western) Christopher Luzinda said they have been receiving complaints from livestock keepers about the pervasive fake acaricides on the market.
“We have been receiving complaints that pesticides meant for killing ticks are no longer working so we had to come on ground to find out why,” Luzinda said.
Luzinda said it was established that some veterinary drug attendants dilute the pesticides in their stores, with the result that when livestock farmers buy them, they do not work.
He said they have withdrawn the drugs from the illegal outlets to safeguard the public and ensure those operators get licenses or employ qualified personnel to operate them.
“We have not impounded these drugs on account that they are fake, but so that the operators can follow the guidelines and once they are done, they will take them back,” he said.
NDA is a government agency mandated to ensure that the population accesses safe, efficacious and quality human and veterinary medicines from licensed drug outlets manned by qualified medical personnel.
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